I used to think my story was kinda boring. You know… goody-two-shoes girl grows up in a happyish home, works hard in school, realizes at the age of 12 that something is missing in her life, asks Jesus to be her Lord and Savior during a 6th grade church lock-in, goes on to graduate high school, attends college at a sweet little Baptist university, meets the love of her life, gets married, has three beautiful boys, and lives happily ever after.
Pretty basic, right?
When Jesus invades your life, whether dramatically or not, it’s anything but basic. It’s the greatest gift we could ever receive.
I remember telling Brian once that I wish my testimony was more exciting, and I’ll never forget his response. He said that my story is exciting because it’s proof that even though my life was pretty good, I still knew something was missing. Something (or rather, Someone) incredibly important. Someone who changes everything.
I fell in love with that sweet man all over again after he said that, and it completely changed my perspective.
As it turns out, my story would start to get much more interesting once I hit my 40’s, and although I’d never willingly choose to repeat any of it, I can honestly say that I’m thankful for it.
My hope is that when you look back on your life, you’re able to smile and nod, grateful for the whole of it. I hope you are able to look towards the future with anticipation, trusting that whatever is ahead, you’ll be okay.
We’re prone to want to forget the parts of our story that are painful. How can something that messy and broken be beautiful? It certainly doesn’t feel beautiful, so we spend too much time trying to distract ourselves with meaningless junk in an effort to forget.
But we can’t forget, and we shouldn’t. The last thing we should do is gloss over the hard parts and pretend they didn’t happen, because here’s one of the greatest ironies of all – the best parts of our life are usually a direct result of the painful stuff we wish we could forget.
It’s those heartbreaking hurts that draw us to the Lord… it’s there we see His grace in a new way, where we feel His love and peace like never before, assured that we are completely safe.
But there’s another reason we walk through difficult times – this is the part that brings it all together. God uses our stories to draw us to people who need to hear them. It’s there we really connect to others… where we realize we’re not the only one after all. The best relationships are built on common ground, and that almost never happens during a conversation about a cute sweater or your favorite coffee shop. No, those conversations might lead to deeper connections eventually, but they certainly don’t start there.
Even if it feels scary – if you’re afraid they won’t believe you or they’ll look at you differently – tell your story anyway. Write it down. Whisper it if you have to. But no matter what, tell it. There will be people who don’t understand, and some who will dismiss it completely. Don’t worry about that – this isn’t about them. There will be so many more who will thank you for it.
And then the most incredible thing happens – one by one you’ll start hearing, “Me, too.” and before you know it, you’ve found your people. While we are never alone in this journey, God knows how much sweeter it is to walk alongside others who get you, pray for you, and love you unconditionally.
Hopefully someday you will be able to look back on that thing you once wished never happened with a fresh outlook, grateful for the deeper trust you have in the Lord and the sweet friendships He brought you because of it.
Given the statistics of depression in our world, it is likely that someone you know closely is dealing with it. Given the attitude that far too often shows up in a place of faith, it is likely you don’t know that a person is struggling with it.
Depression, and even suicidal thoughts, are not sin but symptoms of a world broken by sin.
Every parent desires to raise financially responsible children and launch them into the world with the money management tools they need to succeed.